Alabama Municipal Judge Carlton Teel is packing more than legal principles under his robe. When a defendant Brian (Bryant) Keith Ford reacted badly to a sentence and started swinging his crutches at the judge, Teel whipped out a gun and then a deputy shot Ford in the side.
Accounts differ on how much danger the man posed — with some witnesses saying that he was not attacking the judge when he was shot. Others say he tried to grab the gun.
Ford was in the courtroom on a harassment charge from a neighbor who said Ford had cursed at her in December after accusing her of talking about him to police.
Teel reportedly fined him $800 — a rather modest sum when one considers he now faces serious criminal charges and remains in critical condition.
The most disturbing account was:
Sara Williams said she was sitting in the front row when the man, whom she knew, got agitated after the judge fined him $800. He waved one of his crutches in the air.
“The police were hollering for him to get down” when an officer opened fire, she said.
Williams said she yelled “Don’t shoot him no more!” right before the officer fired again.
If that is true, it is hard to see why potentially lethal force was used. However, others describe Ford as attacking the judge.
Do you believe judges should be allowed to pack heat in a courtroom?
Source: ABA Journal